Tech talent shortage in Louisville inspires new program to teach high school students to code

A lack of technology talent is one reason city leaders say Louisville didn't land on the list of finalists for Amazon's second headquarters.

“The major talent area that Amazon was looking for is software development engineers,” Louisville Forward Chief Mary Ellen Wiederwohl said in an interview with WDRB News shortly after the announcement earlier this month. “Obviously, they are a tech company. They're looking for tech talent.”

It appears Louisville doesn't have enough of those qualified tech workers to fill open positions, according to business leaders who are already based in Louisville.

“To move up and compete with cities like Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Nashville, we really need to start getting into mobile development," Interapt Skills Curriculum Director Izaak Prats said. We need to get a new workforce of kids."

Software development firm Interapt created a program for high school students in Jefferson and Shelby Counties as a response to that problem. It’s called Interapt Skills, and it's a partnership with nonprofit, Transform Education Kentucky.

Students take a school bus to Interapt on River Road every school day from 1-5 p.m. for an entire semester.

“We teach high schoolers how to code and prepare them for the economy of the future,” Prats said.  “We start off with the basics of computer science with either Swift or Java, and after a couple weeks of learning how to do that and they have a good basis of that, we move into Android or IOS.”

Interapt Skills is looking for its next round of applicants, and applications will become available in the spring. For more information, click here

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